Johnston Community College honors two

From News ReleaseMarch 14, 2014 

Vic McCormick spends his work day coordinating short-term certification programs that help people get back into the workforce.

As director of continuing education at Johnston Community College, McCormick recruits students for training programs like front-line industry production, food service and real-estate sales.

“I like to see the satisfaction on students’ faces when they get jobs,” McCormick said. “That’s the real reward. I also enjoy working with the industries and helping them get what they need in terms of skilled workers.”

McCormick started working at JCC in 2004 as a computer technician. Three years ago, he decided to transition to a program director job because it allowed him to work directly with students.

“Even though I love computers, I felt like there was something missing,” McCormick said. “I really enjoy working in education and helping others succeed.”

Selected by his colleagues in the JCC Staff Association, McCormick is the recipient of the 2013 Rudolph A. Howell Outstanding Staff Person Award at the college.

Joy Callahan, dean of economic and community development, nominated McCormick for the honor. She said he is one of the best employees she’s worked with during her 15 years at JCC.

“Vic is a role model for the students he counsels as well as the faculty and staff,” Callagan said. “His dedication to his career at JCC and his faith in people make me so proud to have him in my department. His positive and will-do attitude is one that everyone should strive to achieve.”

McCormick said he is grateful to his fellow employees and his family for supporting him in his career. “There are so many other people at JCC who are just as deserving,” he said. “To receive this award, it is both an honor, and a privilege and it says a lot.”

McCormick earned a bachelor’s degree from N.C. Central University and a master’s degree from Strayer University. He and his wife, Tonia, live in Clayton with their two sons, ages 12 and 17.

Excellence in Teaching

Lance Gooden is all about bringing math to life.

Through the use of an interactive drawing tablet, MAPLE computation software and high-tech graphing calculators, Gooden works hard to make algebra and calculus fun for students at Johnston Community College.

“My main focus is building their confidence in the subject of mathematics,” Gooden said. “I teach them not to focus so much on getting the right answer but understanding the process of how to get to the right answer.”

Gooden’s creative approach to teaching is one reason his fellow instructors in the JCC Faculty Association chose him as the 2103 recipient of the Earl C. and Doris F. Helms Excellence in Teaching Endowment.

Gooden has taught college math at JCC since 2006. Before that, he taught middle and high school students at various schools in Johnston County.

A native of Jamaica, Gooden attended schools with limited opportunities and resources. That experience, he said, instilled in him a strong appreciation for the technology and other teaching resources he uses to help his students excel and get excited about math.

The incorporation of technology makes math fun for students and allows them to perform lengthy, complicated calculations quickly, Gooden said.

“Where I grew up, I learned that you cannot take anything for granted,” he said. “Coming (to the United States) and seeing all these resources, it’s like being a child in a candy store. Even now, I feel the same way, and I still crave to grow and make available all the resources to my students to enhance my teaching style.”

Co-advisor of Phi Theta Kappa at JCC, Gooden said he’s humbled by the recognition. “This was such a surprise and a tremendous honor to be recognized by my colleagues and peers,” he said. “I have been able to grow tremendously as a professional and as an instructor at JCC, and I am so grateful.”

Gooden earned his bachelor’s degree from Saint Augustine’s College and his master’s degree from Campbell University. He is also a National Board Certified Teacher in mathematics and adolescence and young adulthood.

Gooden and his wife, Kutina, live in Clayton with their 4-year-old son. They are expecting their second child in July.

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